Caniba (Dir. Véréna Paravel and Lucien Castaing-Taylor, 2017)
Date: November 19, 2018
Location: Downtown Independent
Address: 251 S. Main St., Los Angeles, CA. 90012
Los Angeles premiere, co-presented by La Collectionneuse!
A new documentary from the pioneering filmmakers behind Leviathan, Caniba reflects on the discomfiting significance of cannibalistic desire in human existence through the prism of one Japanese man, Issei Sagawa, and his mysterious relationship with his brother, Jun Sagawa. As a 32-year-old student at the Sorbonne in Paris, Issei Sagawa was arrested on June 13, 1981 when spotted emptying two bloody suitcases containing the remains of his Dutch classmate, Renée Hartevelt. Two days earlier, Mr. Sagawa had killed Hartevelt and began eating her. Declared legally insane, he returned to Japan. He has been a free man ever since. Ostracized from society, he has made his living off his crime by writing novels, drawing manga, appearing in innumerable documentaries and sexploitation films in which he reenacts his crime, and even becoming a food critic. (Grasshopper)
Mesmerizing. One of the ten best films of the year.
James Quandt, Artforum
Fearless. Frequently uncomfortable but always fascinating.
Boyd Van Hoeij, The Hollywood Reporter
I had seen it all. And then I saw Caniba.
John Semley, The Globe and Mail
You’d have a difficult time finding another film that contains this much fascinating and terrible humanity.
Dan Sullivan, Film Comment
Paravel and Castaing-Taylor’s gaze strips Issei’s face of any sensational or anecdotal references. The long close-ups call for neither moral judgement nor physiognomic interpretation, but make palpable an extreme form of desire.
Zoe Meng Jiang, The Brooklyn Rail